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Posted: April 15, 2014 11:17 a.m.

Ga. judge asked to stop new Vidalia onion rule


REIDSVILLE, Ga. (AP) — One of Georgia's most prominent growers of sweet Vidalia onions has asked a judge to shield him from possible sanctions for shipping his crop ahead of the official start date imposed by a new state regulation.

Farmer Delbert Bland is fighting Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black over a rule prohibiting growers from packing Vidalia onions for shipment before Monday. An Atlanta judge struck down the rule, but the commissioner is appealing. Meanwhile, he insists it remains in effect.

Bland's attorney, former state Attorney General Mike Bowers, told a Tattnall County judge Tuesday the commissioner has "threatened" farmers and asked for an order stopping him. State attorneys say most growers support Black's efforts to keep unripe onions off store shelves.

Superior Court Judge Jay Stewart said he plans to rule later Tuesday.

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